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MUDD 21 - City Visions II

MUDD, City Visions and Berlin Karl Fischer

In 2016, the MUDD program turns 21. As an outsider, who has also been intermittently on the inside for a number of years, I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about my experience with the program. While I was initially simply impressed with the quality of the work presented in the annual exhibitions and the Yearbook, it was only when I took over the course during James Weirick’s long service leave in 2012 that I was able to fully appreciate how the amazingly steep learning curve taken by the students could be achieved. The answer lies in the structure and method of the course, which, beyond the immediate input by the professors that have created it, is made up from the content, timing and qualities of the additional staff that come in at the appropriate point in time during the course to teach the required digital and design skills. This bundle of methods has matured over 21 years. As outsiders from Germany, my colleague Harald Bodenschatz, who came to the MUDD colloquium in 2014, and I were equally impressed with the quantity and quality of the work on display. Set up and designed in 1995 by Professors Alexander Cuthbert, Bruce Judd, Jon Lang, Paul Reid and James Weirick, the MUDD course has developed an elaborate teaching strategy, which combines a consistent underlying structure with the integration of new perspectives and methods, combining long-term continuity with the adoption of new approaches, seizing new opportunities. A case in point has been the approach behind the “City Visions” exhibition. Following the impulses of my 2011 Paul Reid lecture “Learning from Europe?” and the MUDD excursion to Berlin later that year, the City Visions theme became a useful tool for teaching the 2012 MUDD course. It structured the display of the student work in March 2014. This combined the original exhibition conceived in Berlin and curated at UNSW with the students’ work on “City Visions in Sydney and Canberra”, and it was printed with the financial support of the Sydney Goethe Institute. This approach again formed the background for our excursion to Hamburg in 2013 and our second excursion to Berlin in November 2015. The “City Visions” exhibition was concerned with urban development and urban design in four cities with a focus on two periods – basically at the turn of the two last centuries. As the following essay by Harald Bodenschatz points out, the year 1910 marked the emergence of urban design as a new discipline. With Berlin’s Exhibition of “Städtebau” and, shortly afterwards, the London Town Planning Conference, this was an international phenomenon. The names of the exhibitions already indicate differences between the approaches to urbanism which began to emerge around 1910. “Städtebau”, which we have been translating as “urban design”, is indeed different to “Town Planning” and

Professor Karl Fischer

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Mudd folio final 02 mar 2016  
Mudd folio final 02 mar 2016  

City Visions: Method & Design Chicago | Berlin | Sydney International Studio workshops from the Masters of Urban Development & Design degree...